Road Trip-Worthy Holiday Light Displays

These twelve destinations have the best and brightest holiday light displays of the season. So hop in the car, and get ready to gawk.


Baltimore, Maryland

The small neighborhood of Hampden, Maryland has featured a full block of homes decked out with lights and decorations for the past 62 years. Beginning November 27 through December, residents fill the sidewalks and streets with lights, bells, trinkets, and of course, Maryland crab ornaments. Turn up the holiday tunes in your car and take it in. baltimore.about.com

New York, New York

Once, just once, it's worth braving the cold and the crowds for the annual tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. (Even if you can't, the lighting of the iconic spruce is televised worldwide.) Expect a full event: celebrity guests, holiday music and a Swarovski crystal star on top. rockefellercenter.com

Bernville, Pennsylvania

Koziar's Christmas Village is one of the brightest spots around, featuring a half-million lights reflecting off a centralized lake. The glow covers barns, landscapes, and walkways, making a nighttime jaunt through the grounds absolutely magical. koziarschristmasvillage.com

Clayton, North Carolina

Take an old-fashioned hayride through the Christmas light extravaganza in Neuse Park, then stroll into a giant, bedecked barn featuring over a million light displays plus rooms with timeless Christmas character stories projected in 3-D. lightsontheneuse.com/

Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina

Brookgreens Gardens turn golden each year during its Night of a Thousand Candles yearly events (various weekends in December), featuring fountains, ponds, and greenery decked in 5,000 hand-lit candles plus arrays of sparkling lights. brookgreen.org

Wheeling, West Virginia

Larger-than-life displays of traditional and new holiday characters are arranged around this 300-acre park—including a impressive sixty-foot poinsettia wreath. oglebay-resort.com

Clifton, Ohio

At historic Clifton Mill, 3.5 million lights spectacularly illuminate the mill, gorge, riverbanks, and more—there's even a 100-foot "waterfall" of lights. cliftonmill.com

Bristol, Tennessee

Nascar lovers, start your sleighs. Bristol's motor speedway decks out the stands and their four-mile route in millions of lights and displays, creating a special drive for all to enjoy. bristolmotorspeedway.com

Leavenworth, WA

This historic town is transformed each year with thousands of twinkling lights. Roast chestnuts, greet friends, and take a sleigh ride throughout this village. icicleinn.com

Portland, Oregon

Known as the largest holiday choral festival in the world (and featuring nearly 500,000 lights), Portland's annual festival features hundreds of carolers puppet shows and even a petting zoo. Warning: You may never get "Jingle Bell Rock" out of your head. thegrotto.org

Huntington Beach, California

Take in this neighborhood's residential lights from the road, or cruise by on a narrated boat tour for the full effect of glimmering lights reflected in the water. cruiseoflights.org/

North Pole, Alaska

The town of North Pole turns into Santa's wonderland each year, complete with light displays, giant candy canes, and the big man's own workshop. northpolealaska.com

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